Hi! I am a food blogger, iPhone food photographer, foster mom for rescued cats, forever Hooman to our two furry boys and everything behind But First Chai! phew... impressive? 😛 (also, a vacuum cleaner cleaner) IYKYK.
An Indian Malabari (Kerala) born and raised in Coimbatore and worked for a decade in Learning Management for an MNC in Bangalore.
My early cooking lessons started at home as sous chef to Mom! I spent my 20s' in the corporate world away from folks. But I loved coming back to my tiny kitchen and making dinner for two (me and my flatmate).
Between my full-time job and the flour-filled counter, it became obvious that to me cooking was therapeutic and my kitchen (wherever it is) is my refuge.
Around 2014, I quit my career to start a new journey with my husband (Mr. F) in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia. In no time, I got inspired by the culture, people and the whole middle-eastern food world. I was also newly free from 9 to 5 job. That’s when I started this blog as a journal of food recipes that were cooked to reach his heart... cheesy... I know. I documented every successful recipe and realized my love for baking!
In 2019, we moved to Abu Dhabi, UAE and I decided to work full-time on the blog so changed the blog to But First Chai (previously called My Life in Yanbu). My diverse background is the reason you will find recipes focused on the Southern states of India and the Middle East.
I post what I cook for us, but only after it is tried and tested and loved by both of us.
The reason I call this blog But First Chai is because we both are chai lovers and good things start with a cup of chai, right? I remember the day I was contemplating on what to call this blog while I was sipping my morning chai and it was a bulb moment - "but first chai" was born. Yeah, so random.
Because it is just two of us, my recipes are portioned into a small batch that two foodies with great appetites can indulge. This means a family of three or four with kids can use the same measurements. But on a serious note, I have been told that my written recipes are easy to follow without a video. (perks of having worked as an Instructional Designer writing training materials). I know currently, everything is accompanied by a video but I am yet to get that game started. I may never. You never know!
What will you find here?
You will find recipes that will be the show stopper of your next family lunch, like Yemeni Chicken Mandi or Kacchi Mutton Biryani. You will also find plenty of desserts that are in small batches so you don't overindulge. And lots of sweet and savoury snacks for all mental states. My recipes avoid boxed spice mixes so you don't have to buy a whole box only to use a little. As I post after testing a few times, I share what Not to do to perfect your cooking. No diet food here and no qualms about using butter and ghee. If you want to learn to cook new recipes, then dive in here and get inspired.
I would love to hear from you be it a recipe request or collaborations email me at [email protected]. I try to respond to each email I receive on the same day.
Note: All the pictures shared on this blog and the content in it are my own unless clearly stated otherwise. Reproducing in part or whole without my permission is a violation of my intellectual property. If you like to include my content in something then reach out and I am happy to work with you!